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A Sign of the Times or Just Plain Rude?
October 22, 2010 @ 12:52 PM | By Sara Steele

In a world powered by emails, IMs, tweets, and Facebook chatter it seems as if our communication etiquette in the workplace is becoming less formal by the day. Twitter accounts only allow you to publish 140 character messages. And emails without a ‘hi’, ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ fly into my inbox all day long. With today’s numerous communication outlets it’s never been easier to write up a quick note, hit send and instantly share your message without really thinking about how it may be interpreted.

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of forgetting my manners in the workplace. I tend to start my instant messages without a greeting and often times will forget to thank someone after I receive what I need from them. It’s always easier for me to confront difficult issues via email rather than giving the phone call it deserves. There’s no doubt that all this technology has made us more efficient, but has it also made us rude?

In writing this blog, I came across Emily Post's standard rules of workplace etiquette. We all already know them, but here’s a friendly reminder to actually follow them! And, even if you aren’t sharing an office space, almost all of these can be applied to remote communications like audio conference, web conference or video conference calls.

  • Greet each other with a smile and/or hello.
  • Respect each other's privacy; knock before entering.
  • Focus on your colleague (not your smart phone) when you are in a meeting.
  • Be on time.
  • Identify yourself on the phone.
  • Pick up after yourself.
  • Speak quietly (but don't whisper!) in an open office/cubical environment.
  • Keep cell phones off or set to vibrate or silent.
  • Take personal calls in a private area.
  • Don't use IM or email to avoid a problem.
  • Keep shared calendars up to date and free of private appointments.
  • Use salutations, please, and thank you in emails.
  • Fridge rules: If you put it in, you can take it out.

Do you find yourself or your co-workers following or violating these rules, either virtually or in the office?

Sara Steele is a Marketing Coordinator at InterCall.

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